Focus: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2018

A plethora of the world’s best are in the UAE hoping to kick-start their year as the 13th staging of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship takes centre stage on the calendar.

THE reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood will be in illustrious company in his defence of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as a worldclass field assembles in the UAE this month. Fleetwood, who won by a single
stroke ahead of Dustin Johnson last year, will again have the World No.1 for company as the American looks to go one better this year. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who has two previous runner up finishes, is making his 13th consecutive start at the event while Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and two-time winner Paul Casey will all be in the hunt for honours. Designed by Peter Harradine and opeed in 1998, Abu Dhabi’s National Course is long, and the combination of slick greens, threatening water hazards and often sizzling temperatures can make the course as much a test of stamina as skill. The striking falcon clubhouse serves as an icon for the superb par-5 finishing hole where the likes of Casey, Fleetwood, Martin Kaymer and Rickie Fowler have all been crowned Abu Dhabi Champion. With such a cast of stars in action, this year’s winner will be able to bask in a warm glow, knowing he has come out on top against the demanding course and the demanding leaderboard.

Runner-up last year, World No.1 Dustin Johnson, will be aiming to go one better this year and start with a bang
Paul Casey, a winner of the event in 2007 and 2009, is teeing it up at the event for the first time since 2014
Justin Rose, the highest ranked Englishman in the world, finished runner-up on his Abu Dhabi debut in 2013
Matt Kuchar is a four-time Ryder Cup player and is making his Middle Eastern debut in Abu Dhabi
Tommy Fleetwood led the Greens in Regulation stats en route to victory in Abu Dhabi last year. The eventual Race to Dubai winner hit a magnificent 91.7%  of the greens over the four rounds